There was an interesting article in MSNBC this morning about the negative effects of co-habitating. They were saying that due to the sexual revolution and the pill, people were more carefree. They also cite that as of late, more people are co-habitating to offset costs of living alone.
They went on to talk about a couple who LIVED TOGETHER for FOUR YEARS, got married in a lavish ceremony and were talking divorce within the first year.
Sooo… I’m not a doctor/psychologist/therapist and my views/opinions/observations are purely from my own perspective but there are warning signs here that no one seems to be seeing. I suggest you read the article before you finish reading this post.
I’ve co-habitated with a couple of men – it’s a fact. In fact, I am doing so with one right now. However, after going through this a couple of times, you learn, within the first six month, that it’s either going to work or it’s not. You have to be honest with yourself. If you just like playing house and you think you can “tolerate” the other person, then you’re headed down the wrong path. If you are doing this because it’s cheaper to live with someone than to live on your own, imagine if you two break up.
So here are my quick thoughts on reality checks you should have with yourself:
- There is no harm in moving in together – just make sure that if something happens, you’re able to stand on your own two feet. In this day and age, women should be able to take care of themselves. Relying on someone else only puts a burden on the relationship.
- Reassess your feelings six months in. Is he/she marriage material? Can you see yourself with them for the long haul? If not, there’s no harm in moving out and moving on… or maybe just moving out. You shouldn’t continue to live with someone if you “think” it will get better or you “already committed to doing this and you have to see it through”. You may be saying that this is taking things a bit fast. Well, if you already moved in with them…
- Reassess at a year. If you moved in with your s/o because there was talk of the “next step” and you “just wanted to do this for six months to see if it would work” and there’s still no engagement, you have full rights to have a level-setting expectation talk. At that point, one of three things happen: 1) There’s an engagement 2) You begin to think you’re just going to hang on a little longer to see what happens 3) You decide to give yourself the respect you deserve and suggest that this situation is too comfortable and that perhaps the relationship isn’t as ready as you thought.
- Waiting. So you decide to continue on living together for an undisclosed amount of time. In this case, the girl in the article lived with her guy for four years before he proposed. In all my years of attending weddings that were a “grand celebration” of the fact that they finally got married, it has almost always ended in divorce. Why? Because planning the wedding gives the bride something to do – something to show she finally has what she wants. The wedding is all about her – not about love, not about two people committing to each other – it’s showing everyone she finally has the security she thinks she needs to feel validated.
- The marriage. Yep – the wedding is over and as Monica from “Friends” once said, “Great, I’m no longer a bride, just somebody’s wife.” Although that was meant to be funny, you would be surprised how many times I’ve heard variations of this. You should be excited to look over in the morning, see the ring on the other’s hand and smile that they are yours, not look over and feel sick that you’re “stuck”.
So this leads to “Well, how do you know it’s the right one?” I would never have been able to answer that properly before but now, I’m about 99.9% sure I can. It’s simple.
- They are in your head all the time
- Saying “I love you” is something that warms your heart every time you say it and hear it
- You get little butterflies every time you see them
- There are so many moments where you look at them and you just can’t believe they are yours
- You don’t care about wedding formalities – not even about fancy rings – you just want to marry them because that is how much love is swelling up inside
- You can clearly picture your wedding and it always involves a stupid grin on your face and you wanting to just race down the aisle because you can’t wait to be married
- You can look at the other and realize that they have made you a better person
- You feel complete, whole, calm and confident
- You don’t care if you ever go out again, as being with them is just easy and super fun
- You get into an argument and it doesn’t even cross your mind that that argument might “end” things – arguing is natural
- Simply put: It’s just easy
Speaking from experience on both sides of the co-habitating coin, it’s okay to test drive a situation but never be comfortable or settle – stick to what you want. If that is wedded bliss for the rest of your life, don’t be afraid to be choosy because at the end, it costs a lot less than a divorce.